The financial capital of Mumbai was thrown into mourning on Tuesday morning when the death of 15 people was confirmed when a wall collapsed during torrential monsoon downpours.
At least 69 people were injured when the structure came down around 2 am (2030 GMT Monday) in a slum settlement, Tanaji Kamble, a disaster management spokesman for Mumbai’s local authority, told AFP.
The tragedy due to heavy rains which has been pouring for a second consecutive day, the place where the incident occured was being occupied by at least 20 million people
Authorities declared Tuesday a public holiday and advised all residents to stay indoors. Schools and colleges were closed while flights were diverted from Mumbai’s main airport.
Large swathes of Mumbai received around 100 millimetres (4 inches) of rain overnight into Tuesday morning, leaving low-lying parts submerged in water.
Train services on Mumbai’s colonial-era rail network, a lifeline for the city’s population, were reduced due to waterlogged tracks while motorists were seen pushing cars through flooded streets.
Rescuers were sifting through the wreckage of the wall that collapsed in a slum area in Mumbai’s north, in the hope of finding more survivors trapped under rubble.
“Rescue operations are underway and more details are awaited. Besides, a team of the fire brigade and local police also reached the spot and took control of the situation,” a National Disaster Response Force official told the Press Trust of India news agency.
Mumbai’s streets regularly flood during the monsoon, which runs from June until September or October, and which provides India with most of its annual rainfall.